Feed me, Seymour!

Been a while since I put in a Keto update…

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I had a rocky 3 month anniversary on Keto.

I couldn’t get full.

No matter what I ate, an hour later I was starving.  The two block walk to get to my car was once again making me out of breath.  My knee was grumbling over the stairs again.  I could feel a tightness around the shoulders & chest, and I couldn’t think my way out of a paper bag with the end cut open.  It was like going through keto-flu all over again, where my body was demanding glucose and throwing a hissy fit when denied.

Imagine the frustration – an entire week, yelling at my digestive system, demanding to know WHATINHELL you want???  It was almost frustrating enough to order a large, hand-tossed, extra cheese, double EVERYTHING pizza and eat the entire thing on the spot.

Don’t worry – I behaved.  I drank chicken bouillon like water, ate a lot of cheese, and attempted to mollify the demands of my gut with bacon, sausage & nuts.

I think I finally figured out WHY my body went crazy on the 3 month mark.

Protein.

I had been averaging around half of my macro’s recommended 100 grams of protein a day.  Yes, I had been warned.  The dire prognostication of ‘OMG, you’re going to lose MUSCLE!’ is quite common on a lot of the Keto sites, and a lot of the threads I’ve seen on reddit fairly scream “Go eat a gahd-damn steak, ferkristssake!”

But, up until this point, I felt great on keto, so I figured the doom & gloomers were just blowing fear out their rear.

Guess I still gotta learn some things the hard way.  I now know what happens when your body starts to cannibalize proteins from within…

The breakthrough finally came Friday.  After 5 days of intense hunger-pangs, I bowed to the inevitable, and picked up some Quest Vanilla Milkshake protein powder.  Now, when I ran to the store after work, I was almost desperate enough to grab any old tub of powder, but I still reviewed nutrition information, and the Quest stuff seemed to be the best.  23 grams of protein per serving, 2 net carb, not a shit-ton of dietary fiber (which sometimes give me those ‘never trust a fart’ moments with the Quest bars), and a mix of whey protein (fast acting) and casein protein (slow-to-digest).

I’m finally back to my ‘I really don’t have much of an appetite,’ happy-on-keto self, and slowly working through the last echoes of protein-deprivation.  The knee has ceased threatening to go on strike, at least…

And it’s pretty damn tasty mixed like this:

 

Iced Quest Coffee

3/4 scoop Quest Vanilla Milkshake (about 1.5 T)

2.5 T Heavy Cream

Cold Coffee

Pour heavy cream in the bottom of a standard drinking glass (around 20 ounce).  Pour quest powder on top of cream, fill the glass with cold coffee, leaving room for ice.

Drop a wire wisk into the glass, and spin between your palms while simultaneously raising and lowering the wisk until everything is well mixed.  Add your ice, and caffeinate yourself into wakefullness.

 

I might just try blending it into full frothiness next…stay tuned!

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Oui, mes oignons sont le français

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Why, yes…my onions HAVE been French-ified.  Thank you for noticing!

Anyone else love French Onion Soup?  Thick beef stock, freshened with Thyme & Basil, crammed full of caramelized onions, topped with crusty bread & melty cheese?

Oh…yum.

Sadly, French Onion soup isn’t exactly keto-friendly.  First – onions.  They may be a low glycemic index food, but the sheer volume of onions in a good French Onion soup is going to pack onto any daily carb count.

Second – caramelizing those onions.  There are different schools-of-thought on caramelized onions.  Some diabetics will experience a blood-sugar spike (thus needing more insulin) when consuming prepared onions, far more of a spike than when eating them raw, so their (diabetics and the nutritionists who advise them) thought is, caramelizing onions concentrates the sugar in the vegetable, recommend DO NOT CONSUME.

The other camp disagrees – using logic:  You can’t make more sugar (and therefore, more carbs) than the raw vegetable already has by cooking it.  They believe that caramelizing the onions has more to do with portion control than sugar concentration.  A cup of raw onions is a lot less vegetable matter than a cup onions that have spent the better part of an hour having their fibers broken down and a portion of their water content removed with the application of heat and friction.

Me?  I’m in the portion control camp.  It’s easy to overeat the caramelized carby goodness that is onions in their fully broken-down state.

And, let’s face it – French Onion soup is ALL about overeating decadence…

Third – the type of onion.  For a good French Onion soup – all the recipes suggest using sweeter onions such Walla Wallas, Mahis, Sweet Spanish, Yellows and Vidalias. Not only are these bred to be huge, they’re modified to be less astringent, milder, and sweeter than their more natural counterparts, such as greens, whites, and shallots.  Of course, when you take away some of the sulfurous compounds and force the bulb to create more sugar, you increase the carbs right along with it.

What is it with us humans???  Take a perfectly good plant and muck about with the genetics to favor sweetness.  No wonder we’re addicted to sugars.

Fourth – a thick slab of crusty bread topping the individual serving.  Bread?  ‘Nuff said.

What brought on this daydreaming of French Onion souper-stardom?  An overabundance of onions picked up at the local farmer’s market this weekend.

I can’t resist good deals on locally-grown produce!

I had to do something  –  it would be a sin to bring all these beautiful white orbs into the house and let them rot… So I broke down about half of them, and set to cooking.

I feel the need to apologize to my neighbors – the early stage of caramelizing onions never stays in a single apartment!

Pot o soup

 

Once nicely bronzed, the onions were paired with a good beef stock, thyme, basil, and a generous shot of pepper.

 

Letting the heat do its thing, turning this pot of stuff into a dinner of legend, I searched for something keto-friendly to top the soup with – bready, but not carby.

 

I found:   these.

I gotta thank Sugar Free Mom for sharing her wonderful recipe for low-carb English Muffins.  You struck gold (nut butter) with this one!

I did make a tiny alteration – I switched out the almond milk for half water, and half heavy cream.  I simply couldn’t justify buying an entire container of almond milk in what could very well have turned out to be a catastrophe.

My earlier experiment with mug cakes left me cautious, OK???

 

I needn’t have worried – these were perfect for the soup.  They had a distinctive baked-good texture to them, not so much nook & cranny-y like wheat-based English muffins, but denser, like a good cake – and (vitally!) missing the grainy bits that come from ground flax or hemp protein powders.

Once slathered with butter and toasted under the broiler, they didn’t disintegrate when floated on top of the hot broth, held up under the weight of the good provolone cheese I topped the crock with, and even retained their weight and texture after the broiling was completed.

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Unlike some wheat-based products I could mention…

Dinner.  Was.  GOOD.

I even had leftover bread to pair with bacon & eggs in the morning!

Brekky

 

 

 

 

I only hope the bacon forgives me for upstaging it’s glorious salty goodness for the bread…

Questing for the Holy Grail

A Chalice forground Moon behind copy

Keto, like everything else in life,  is all about balance.  You consume the three major contributors to nutrition in a pre-determined and monitored ratio.  This is called (in the keto world) your macros.

My macro numbers (as calculated by this handy-dandy Keto calculator) came out to

120 gram fats,    100 grams protein,    25 grams carbohydrate        per day.

My first concern was, quite naturally, howinhell am I going to eat THAT much fat in a day when I’ve been 1) trained since the 70’s to eat less of it – and 2) trained to swallow any fat that does manage to sneak in my diet with a large side-order of guilt?

Lemme explain…

The food industry has sold this guilt-trip with utter abandon, making everything leaner and drier and stuffed full of inexpensive (read:  more profit!) fillers and carb-heavy sweeteners to make up for the lack of flavor that happens when you strip out all of the fat.

The fitness industry follows hot on Food’s heels with a maniacal grin –  advising millions of people to eat more fruit stuffs & products containing whole grains (and dontchaknow – we have just the thing!) while trotting out their patented, revolutionary, extremely expensive lines of hand-crafted (by blind Tibetan Nuns!) smoothies, cans of sludge, exotic waters, and tubs of strange-smelling white powder…most of them packed with, yup, you guessed it, easy-to-digest simple sugars with names 20 letters long and profit margins 20 digits long.

American Nutrition Recommendations (produced by the US Department of Agriculture) continue to recommend heavy grain/fruit/veggie/LOW-FAT dairy intake patterns (about 80% of your total daily consumption) with 15% lean (again, LOW-FAT) protein, and extremely low (5%) solid or liquid fat intake.

These recommendations allow our Public Health Advisory Boards to moan about how Americans are getting fatter & fatter & sicker & angrier…thus paving the way for the Health Industry to sell us more pills & procedures & therapies (greatly enhancing THEIR balance sheets) while lobbing the ball back to Fitness (who sell more gym memberships, workout apparel, and self-torture DVD’s) who deftly deflect it to Food (who sell more low-fat, high-carb, nowhere-near-natural frankenfoodstuffs) where the defense is “We’re just following the set nutritional guidelines.”  Lather, rinse, and repeat ad nauseaum.

What – you think any of these groups care about YOUR health???

Our ‘body’ industries love fat – it’s the big, scary devil on your plate they’ve used to terrify more money out of the average American Consumer than any other scapegoat ever conceived.

And we all swallowed it – hook, line & sinker.

Turns out, fat wasn’t that big a problem once I got off the “fat…makes you fat” guilt-rollercoaster, and found acceptable methods of incorporating more of it into my diet…sautéing my evening veggies in a generous dose of real butter – good egg salads with real mayo – heavy cream instead of milk – full-fat cheeses & the world of fat bombs.

Carbs, oddly enough, were also not that big a problem, once I cut out all the uber-processed junk masquerading as food & got over my body’s attempts to blackmail me with cravings.  I can now grab a single kernel of popcorn out of the SQO’s movie theatre bag, and be happy with the little bit of salty, carb-y crunch.  Or get a single lick of frozen custard from Kopp’s – letting D enjoy the rest of his cone.

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Kopp’s, incidentally, makes Milwaukee’s BESTEST frozen custard, and the SQO & I have a long history with them 😀

Protein, oddly enough, is where I hit my snag.  Not that I can’t cut out enough protein to get down to my macros, but because I can’t consume enough protein to get UP to that target number.

I’ve always found it simple to cut protein out of my daily diet – I’ve been fully veggie (not vegan, as I’ve always allowed myself eggs & cheese) a couple of times in my adult life – with timeframes in years each.  It’s like a switch turns on in my brain that suddenly says:  ‘animal protein bad…do not eat…’ and the appetite naturally switches gears.

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I usually end my veggie stints being seduced by cheeseburgers…

When I do eat meats – I’ve always chosen lower-fat, drier, and/or highly processed products…partly because of the childhood conditioning in the above rant, but more so, if it resembles an actual animal carcass, that little switch turns on in my brain again (animal protein BAD!).  For me, bones & skin have no business being on a dinner plate, and visible fat is only barely tolerated.

Don’t invite me over for BBQ ribs…

Soooo, given the perplexity of my taste buds –  white meat only on chicken & turkey; either lean cuts of (or ground) beef & pork; industrial sausage-products & lunch meats; and the lamb-cicle meat cones for Greek gyros are acceptable protein options.  That’s it. All others – exotic meats like duck, goose, venison, bison, bear, rabbit, etc?  Too weird.  Too greasy.  Too wet.  Too gamey.

And don’t get me started on seafood.  There are exactly 2 different water-based proteins I will eat if forced to – shrimp (if it’s de-tailed, breaded, deep fried, and served with enough cocktail sauce to kill the taste) and cod (again, breaded, deep fried, and served with enough lemon juice to kill the taste).

Finally – all meat products have to be COOKED.  None of this rare to medium-well done nonsense for me.  My meats have to be dry, chewy, and tough as old shoe leather.

Sushi is NEVER an option…

I yell at the TV when I watch cooking shows…

I’m as picky as a 3 year old when it comes to meats…the only exception I can find to my personal rules for eating animal proteins is bacon…visible fat is OK on bacon as long as its crisp.

soft bacon is … slimy…

So what’s a girl like me to do for good protein sources, easily found and within my narrow protein parameters?

Questing for the Holy Grail in 3..2…1…

I tried a hemp-based protein powder and got weirded out with the grainy texture.

Other protein powders?  Too.  Freaking.  Expensive.

Nutmeats and nut-butters are good (Macadamia and Almond are especial keto-world favorites) – but add to overall carbs.  Nut butters are also, with the exception of peanut butter with lots of added sugar, grainy.

Weirded out, take II.

Eggs?  Absolutely.  One of the best (and cheapest) protein sources out there.  But, one can only eat so many eggs before getting sick of them, no matter how you prepare them.  And eggs, I think, have a high-insulin spike included with them – they leave me hungry unless paired with lots of fat (like in egg salad).

Beef jerky/sticks.  Slim Jim’s have a permanent place in both my purse & my ’emergency’ rations (if I’m out & hungry – I’ll grab a stick from the checkout line) to quell hunger pangs until I can get back to my kitchen, but also contribute to carbs.  Plus – like the eggs, one can only eat so many highly processed meat & spice sticks before no longer wanting to ‘snap into ’em!’

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,,,

,,,

Enter:  The Quest Bar.

,,,

Now, Quest Nutrition bars have a huge fanboi base on the ‘net  –  I’ve read a lot of gushing reviews on them – with people swearing up & down that Quest Bars quell their hunger, replace multiple meals, and cure everything from toe fungus to an exploded brain stem.

I tend to take all rabid fanboi cheerleading with a bunch of grains of salt…

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and a lime…

and a shot of Tequila…

I’ve also read a lot of grumbling about Quest Bars.  That the ingredients got changed, they look like taffy, hard to choke down, threw out an entire CASE of the things, and they gave someone the clap.

Ditto on the bitch-fest.

One Tequila… two tequila… three tequila….

FLOOR.

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Soooo – discounting both the rave and rage ends of the review spectrum (and my resulting tequila hangover) – I took a read of the label and the macros in the bars.

The first thing I noticed in these bars is the HUGE amount of insoluble fiber, with most topping 12 grams.  Insoluble fiber doesn’t impact your carb macros, because your body can’t digest the stuff.  It just passes it on through.

Don’t make me say WHERE…

The second thing I noticed is the whopping 20 grams of protein from whey isolates.  Now – from everything I’ve read, whey protein isolates are a mixed bag.  It’s a by-product of cheese making – so obviously it has dairy roots and is heavily processed.   Whey isolates also (from what I’ve read) cause an insulin spike – so those who are insulin-resistant or full-blown diabetic may want to avoid them.

The heavy processing and dairy roots don’t faze me in the least, but the insulin spike does give me pause, as I have Geriatric Diabetes in my family lines.  So, with a tentative toe in the water, my personal ‘master plan’ on consuming these will have to be at the end of a regular meal, where insulin has already been put into play, and has plenty of fat to process as well as protein.

Third – they limit (or eliminate) the amount of sugar by adding in Erythiol (a sugar alcohol which also…passes through…) and Stevia to make them a bit sweet.  Both these artificial sweeteners I’ve tried before with no uncomfortable issues.

They sounded like a reasonable but cautiously-workable product that may fit into my Keto diet.  They had the potential to be the Holy Grail of my Protein quest…

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I found some Quest bars at Woodman’s, and picked up a couple of different flavors.  At over two bucks a bar, they will NOT be the Holy Grail.  Sadly, these will end up being confined to an occasional expensive treat…

But price isn’t everything – how’s it taste???

Chocolate Brownie was the first toe dipped into the Quest-water.  Removing the product from its packaging was a bit trickier than I thought it would be – the bar is a long-ish strip of taffy-like, slightly sticky, dark brown glop…more like partially dehydrated brownie batter than an actual cake-like brownie.  Not a surprise, however, because the ‘doom & gloom’ reviews pretty accurately spelled out the look and feel of the product.

It smelled pretty damn good…and the chocolate flavor really came through… so score one for the fanboi seating!  The texture wasn’t too off-putting, and it didn’t stick to my teeth.  In fact, the texture was kinda fun to play with in my mouth with minimal actual chewing absolutely necessary.  By the end of the bar, I was getting the ‘full tank’ feeling in my stomach that says ‘that’s enough…you’re satisfied.’

The second one I tried was the Cinnamon bun.  The consistency, texture and mouth-feel of the bar was the same as the chocolate brownie. There were also little bits of almonds mixed in with the paste.  This one is, by far, my favorite of the bunch, with cinnamon, sweet, and yeast-bread notes.

Next, I tried the strawberry cheesecake.  Yuck.  The missed the flavor on this one – it was waaaaay to chemically.

Finally, I went to the one everyone on the web seems to be gushing over – Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough.  Sorry fellas – but I don’t agree with the masses on this one.  It is also too chemically for my taste buds.

I have yet to try the vanilla nut or the chocolate mint bars, but they’re next on my list…

Now for the important part.

 

All that insoluble fiber has to work its way through the GI tract, down the intestines & bowel, finally ending its journey in the colon.  Because there’s such a large amount of this fiber stuffed into a small serving size – I wouldn’t recommend more than 1 bar every few days – that’s a lot of bulk to process, and my digestive system was rather noisy in its processing.

At least I didn’t have a ‘never trust a fart’ moment…

So – Quest bars have their goods and their bads…which is pretty common for consumables in today’s world.  I’ll probably continue with the occasional bar, either as an emergency foodstuff I can keep in my purse, or a dessert-type bar when I’m craving something sweet.  The cinnamon bun in particular…

 

The search for the holy grail of protein will continue…

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Is it Cold in here?

Why, yes…it is.  Downright Chili.

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You generally don’t hear about chili being made in Wisconsin in the middle of the summer.  The heat and humidity that hammer down on this state in July make it far, FAR too dangerous to cook something in the house that requires the stove burner to be on more than a few minutes.

Each minute you’re generating heat within the house requires 5 minutes of cooler temps from somewhere (like…the fridge) to get the indoor temperature back down to a reasonable number.

Ok, ok…yes, we do have air conditioning…but we’re too cheap to use it!

Besides…the hot & stickies give us a perfect excuse to NOT cook in the house, but to take things in the backyard, ignite our new flame pits, and char some animal proteins on the altar.

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Quote semi-stolen from ‘The Coneheads’

It also gives a great excuse to suck down large amounts of ice-cold beer, play ‘swat the mosquito’ once the sun goes down…and sometimes, the hose comes out if anyone in the backyard looks like they’re starting to melt.

But I digress – this isn’t about the dismally hot & humid weather which usually occurs in Wisconsin in July & August – this is about a different kind of heat.

Chile heat…

Chili is just one of those meals – a few ingredients, a few spices, and a lot of time in the cooking process so everything ends up a uniformly spiced bowl of stew.  But because it’s a simple meal to toss together, makes the house smell great as it’s simmering, and everyone’s taste buds are a bit different, everyone has THE, undisputed, BEST recipe for the stuff.  All other recipes are worse than recycled dog food.

Chili Wars are amusing.  Texans, in particular, have been raging over kidney beans for decades,

 

Get them damnable veggies OUTTA there – that ain’t chili!

 

While in Cincinnati, chili has an entirely different spice profile,  allows for add-ons after the cooking is done (onions, cheese, beans), and is served over spaghetti.

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Anything with this much cheese on top is guaranteed to be a big hit in Wisconsin

I’m no stranger to the Chili Wars.  My ‘BEST EVER!’ chili recipe is a mixture of ground beef & pork sausage, tomato paste & sauce, garlic, onions, kidney beans, and lots of chili powder.   The individual eat-ee is allowed to add more onion, cheese, and/or sour cream to their individual bowl – and it is always served with fresh-baked bread & butter, and saltine crackers.

Mess with this complex cooking and serving method at your own peril!

The wuzband, on the other hand, made a recycled-Franken-dog-food that nobody in their right mind would call chili.  He dumped in ground beef, noodles, peas, corn, carrots, potatoes, green beans, and used V-8 vegetable juice for the broth.

He.  Doesn’t.  Add. Chili. Powder.

That’s bland beef vegetable soup – not chili!

 

Now, with Keto, I can’t use the beans.  I also can’t serve my chili with the bread or the crackers…but I wanted chili.

Needed chili.

Even though it’s a million degrees outside, and I could fry a hamburger by sticking the raw meat on the window.

Must.  Have.  Chili.

So I started digging through the web.  Read up on dozens of chili variations.  Decided against going the Texas route, because chili NEEDS something to offset the meat and sauce.

For Bella

For Belladonna Took

What I came up with?  Kohlrabi.

It’s a lesser-known bulb vegetable in the cabbage family, with a tough and fibrous outer shell.  The meat inside is smooth, crunchy, and very mildly flavored.  It doesn’t mush up (which is a great advantage over beans) when you cook it, but retains the shape you cut it into.

Even after the long simmer-time required for a great pot of chili, It retained a bit of its crunch, all the while soaking up all that fantastic flavor.

With 3.6 carbs per bulb – it’s a delightful low-carb bean substitute!

 

Because I’d been reading so many varied recipes, I decided to tinker with the flavorings as well as the bean substitute.  Chili powder is great and all, but I wanted something a bit more exotic.

Coffee cold from the pot.  And a bit of cocoa powder.

 

I’m sure the chili purists out there are preparing a lynching as I type…

 

It was an amazing bowl of almost-chili, with the earthier flavors from the coffee & chocolate giving a dark and rich ‘barely bitter’ note to compliment the heat from the chili powder & chilies.   You got the earthy/bitter note on the first bite, and the heat gently rose on the back of your tongue after the 3rd.  It was transformative.

I like food that delivers layers of flavors – it’s like reading a book with your tongue.

Here’s how I made it:

 

Keto Kinda-Chili with Kohlrabi
The Stuff
2.5 pounds ground beef
12oz ground breakfast sausage
3 Medium Kohlrabi, peeled and cubed
1 large white onion, cubed
12 oz can tomato paste
14 oz can beef broth
10 oz can Ro-Tel tomatoes with Chilies
1/2 cup black coffee
1/2 TB cocoa powder
1.5 TB chili powder (or adjust for taste)
1 tsp ground coriander  (or adjust for taste)
The Execution
Brown the beef and sausage in a pan until no longer pink.  Drain
the fat, and place in a crock pot.
Add the tomato paste, tomatoes and beef broth to the crock
pot.  Stir until the paste is blended into the rest of the wet
ingredients.
Add the cubed kohlrabi, onion, coffee, cocoa, chili powder
and coriander.  Stir to dissolve the dry spices.
Cook on low heat for 2 hours.  Stir, and check the seasoning
ratio, adding more spices to taste.
Cook on high heat for 2 more hours.  Serve with any extras you want.
Serves 10 (or 1 teenaged boy)

 

 

 

Adventures in Geometry

I consider geometry the unholy spawn of some sadistic individual’s desire to force an horrific mating of math and art.

Why else would the number of the Devil from the Christian bible be 666?

I remember Geometry class in high school.  Back then, it was required in Sophomore year – everyone took it.  Not everyone enjoyed it.  Not everyone survived it, and not everyone passed the class.  (OLD school – you actually had to demonstrate understanding of a subject to receive a passing grade…).  All the different formula and equations were required memorization – you learned the formula, plugged in the numbers, and let the final result tell you this 3×3 box has 9 cubic feet of air trapped inside it.  The shapes were raped (boxes and triangles and circles), the line drawings abused (angles, parallels, curves).  Everyone was forced away from viewing pleasing visuals, and into considering their base numerical equivalents.

Even at this adolescent and prone-to-fanciful-thinking age, I could see that Geometry was the antithesis of great art, and I fought this tooth & nail.

hqdefaultGeometry demanded equal columns of numbers marching in lockstep without deviation – I wanted to put a pyramid on top of a box, add some cubes, balls and curved brick walkways to create a visually-pleasing home in the woods.   I didn’t CARE that my home had 1357.27685 cubic feet of air trapped inside, with additional insulating air of 339.3192125 cubic feet trapped under the roof, and a capacity to lose 33.78% of the warmth generated in the field stone fireplace through the insanely large windows – IT looked like a inviting and secluded cabin where I could get some SERIOUS artwork done.

Apple Pi

Finally, I’ll never forgive them for forever ruining Pie by dropping the ‘E’ and giving me, not only an endless chain of numbers to really mess with my mind, but another goofy line drawing.

Mmmmm – pie… 

Although I did enjoy the single day our educator stepped away from the rote formula-learning, and gave us a math/word game.  Given each letter in the English alphabet a consecutive number (a=1, b=2 and so on up to z=26) – what’s the highest number you can make from a 5 letter English word?   (Fuzzy, for the record, was our best at a value of 104)

I DO understand Geometry has a place in this world (after all, my cabin in the woods would need to be built using geometric formula if I wanted it to stand) – but I’d prefer to move in after the paint has dried on the walls and the plumbing is working.

Now here’s the weird part.  I do pretty good with simple mathematics, and actually enjoy the lockstep logicality in finance. (I work in accounting, after all…)  I especially enjoy finding and backtracking errors that Corporate AR puts into the books, and request they fix them with a long adding machine tape of evidence to back up my claims.

Floating Fucks

Just another day on the job

Because I’m good at these simple monetary maths, I traditionally earn more than I spend in a month – although my recent purchases of jump rings & jewelry displays made this month a bit more spend-y than save-y.

But geometry?  Nope – nope – nope.  Not going there…not even as a tourist.

Now, the SQO will tell me that I’m good at higher, more complex maths.  He’ll mention some of my drawings (bring on infinite perspective!) my origami, glass-etching, and chainmaille.  The way I automatically frame photographs into the rule of thirds, and all the computer work I’ve done in Photoshop creating abstract arts.

 

He is right, in that all these artistic creations have a healthy dose of complex mathematics behind them.  I don’t see the numbers, though, and I have no interest in calculating them out.  I just see the forms and feel the perfection in the patterns.

 

 

This weekend, I finished a chainmaille project I’ve been hungering to complete for a long time.  I made a ball.

on desk

12 completely identical sides, each side sharing it’s mirrored construction with another side.  12 pentagrams of 5 sides each curled around into a mathematically-correct ball.

I knew going into this one that it wouldn’t be a quicky project – I didn’t realize that it would take an estimated 6 hours, repeated slips of the pliers resulting in skinned knuckles, poked legs, a near-blister on my ring finger and near-miss to my cheek.  I didn’t realize it would take building and tearing out a portion of it over and over and over again until I got it right.  I didn’t realize it would eat up most of my stock of stainless steel 6.9 AR rings (I’m estimating around 400 rings).

I didn’t realize how FUN it was to put this thing together.  The real question is:  do I want to keep this Geometrical Construction on my desk as a tribute to higher maths, or do I want to sell it on Etsy?

 

first third

This is 4 ‘faces’ into the project

 

 

Maths feature in Keto, too.  I decided to give Keto an honest shot once I had a spreadsheet constructed (what did I do before Excel???) to track exactly what I was putting in my mouth in terms of fat, carbs, and proteins.  Started keeping track of what the nutritional content was for my brand of bacon, butter, beef and veggies.  Added additional tabs for the recipes I’ve tried, and a 3rd tab for those recipes deemed ‘a catastrophic failure.’  All my eating, broken down into lockstep columns of marching numbers.

My Geometry teacher would be so proud!

I also started actually reading those nutritional guidelines listed on the backs or sides of some of my favorite snack foods.  That was an experience in pure horror, I’m telling you.  My favorite cheese chips have 19 grams of ultra-processed carbohydrates in just 18 crackers.

As if I could stop at 18 chips?  I used to eat these by the bowlful, if not straight outta the box!

Being low-carb, although it presents some interesting challenges, and was a right royal pain the ass to get used to, is totally worth it in how my body now feels.

This week- I whipped up a chicken-cabbage salad to take to work.  Here’s how I made it.

Chinese Chicken Cabbage Salad
The Stuff
1 small head green cabbage
6 TBS extra virgin olive oil
5 TBS rice vinegar
1.5 TBS Soy Sauce
1 TBS ground ginger
t tsp Cinnamon
2 medium clove garlic, pressed
4 oz cooked chicken breast, finely chopped
The Execution
Chop cabbage into long strips, removing the core.  Place in a large bowl with the
chopped chicken.
Add oil, vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, cinnamon and garlic in a deep bowl or
2 cup Pyrex measuring cup.  Whisk extremely well until all ingredients are
incorporated and the oil no longer separates from the rest of he wet ingredients.
Pour dressing over salad, toss to coat.

Flower Power

I may have mentioned my recent obsession with little jump rings…

RT Flower

I’ve discovered orbitals.  For those of you who don’t know anything about chainmaille patterns, an orbital is when you have two (or more) rings in connection with each other, with a third (or more) ring circling that connection point.

orbital

,,,

,,,

,,,

Like this ——->

Within my exploring on the WWW – I found a YouTuber who put out a video showing how to make a flower pendant with orbitals.  The result … is PRETTY.  She calls it the ‘Reverse Tao’ flower, and the tutorial is one of my new favorites – simple, with the focus on the hands and the rings and how to combine them.  No extra flashy graphics in the front, no long-winded intro speech before you get to the meat of the tutorial, no loud hip-hop or pop or rock music.  Just the build.

I like a tutorial that simply gets down to business without all this nonsense of ‘gettin’ down B4 Bizniz’.

I did have to do some tweaking to this pattern.  The ring size as listed in the tutorial created a form that was rather too loose for my liking, so I scaled the AR down to a tighter 6.9, and I added some additional rings to really firm things up.

I like my chainmaille things tight 😀  and I’ll be listing a few of these lovelies on my Etsy shop this weekend.

I’ve found yet another pattern which uses my favorite ring size.  I use these particular rings for

The Centipede Necklaces

20160507_105734

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

my whirly pendants

A Whirly

the turbine pendants

model close in

and they make a great, quickie bail.

So I finally bit the bullet and ordered a huge amount of them in a variety of metals – I even found them in Niobium, which equals bright, shiny colors.

Colors – squeeeeeeeeeee!

I got some serious maile-ing to do over the next few weeks, because I have my first ever show coming up.  Now, granted, this show is at a vape store grand opening, so I don’t exactly ‘fit in’ with what the rest of the vendors will be offering – but I’ll happily take the exposure.

 

In the keto world, I’ve been exploring cheesecake.  My mousse fluff mimics the filling in a cream puff, but I’ve never been really interested in the cream puff shell – so my explorations went to the next cool and creamy dessert-type thing that came to mind.   And – again thanking the technology that allows people all across the planet to share out interesting ideas – Keto cheesecakes are EVERYWHERE on the web.

I tried a simple recipe for cheesecake fluff first, which brought some sour cream to the party for the tang in real cheesecake – but was left unimpressed.  Not only did the sour cream add the WAY wrong tang, the mixture didn’t blend quite fully, leaving me with little nodules of cream cheese which felt really strange when eating the thing.

Cheesecake should be full-on creamy, rich, and sweet, with just a hint of tang as it spreads across your tongue.  Cheesecake should NOT be LUMPY.

Only the crust is allowed to have a lumptastic texture.

So I’ll be trying some different recipes – and already have them flagged.

Keto Cheesecake Tarts from KetoKrate Blog

recipeimage

Blueberry Cheesecake squares from DitchTheCarbs

rsz_keto_blueberry_cheesecake_squares_tall

No bake Lemon Cheesecake also from DitchTheCarbs

rsz_1lemon_cheesecake

Now I just gotta find the TIME to play in the kitchen 😀

Buzzed…

For the record, I am the Worlds Greatest Alcoholic Lightweight – which is quite the accomplishment being a native of a state that only runs when fueled with fermented hops.

Don’t believe me?  The last study done of the ’20 Drunkest States in the US’ listed 12 cities in Wisconsin.  Not only did we breach the 50% mark on the list, we DOMINATED the top 10.  We are, in every sense of the word, a beer state with a Green & Gold Problem…

Wisco drinks copy

I place the blame for my personal anomaly regarding Wisconsin’s #1 leisure activity on the 1st adult mistake I made, which was getting married before any of my siblings so I’d have bragging rights.

…It ain’t easy being a middle child…

The man I selected as my compatriot in this disaster came from a long line of slightly-functioning alcoholics.  It was quite the eye-opening experience for the young and idealistic (OK…stupid) me to find out that some people simply canNOT behave responsibly with liquor.

Being the sober one in a mentally-abusive alcoholic relationship makes one learn how to NOT want to drink…so, naturally, I’m out of practice.

2015-new-hot-sale-ipop-toilet-stickers-carved-removable-wall-stickers-english-toilet-stickers-for-toiletsAlthough I do occasionally have an adult beverage or two…it takes me decades to ramp up to an evening getting full-on drunk-as-a-skunk – because these occasions invariably end with me clutching the Porcelain God…who’s personal name is Ralph…

…I prefer the other end of me closest to the business end of a toilet…

Here’s where alcohol ends up in the Keto world…

  1.   It’s the ‘4th’ macronutrient – with 7 calories per gram, 2nd only to fats, with 9.  But this nutrient is an empty one, as it only produces a slight energy uptake with no real nutrition, and hasn’t much lasting power.
  2.   As alcohol is a poison, your body recognizes it as such, and immediately begins to process ‘that damn stuff’ OUT of your body.  This is why drunks get drunk – that woozy feeling is the body going into overdrive to metabolize the stuff.
  3.   This is also why you have to pee so much when you’re drunk, because the kidneys don’t want that stuff in residence any longer than necessary.
  4.   Alcohol in the body is ‘cushioned’ by glycogen stores in the liver (glycogen being the storage-mode of sugar and carbs) in a normal diet.  In keto, we’ve depleted those stores by eating minimal carbs – so we have no cushion to pad the hit of the booze.

 

So – long story short – when you drink on Keto, you get drunk…FAST.

I did an experiment this weekend – a shot of Captain Morgan within a glass of diet Coke.  I started to feel the effects of the booze as soon as I walked into the liquor store.

I like to bring shame to my state whenever possible 😀

Here’s the weekly Keto update:

Thursday -The SQO was feeling a bit down over his work situation, so after work I made an emergency trip over to Milwaukee to offer support & dinner.  We ended up at the Denny’s next to his store. Sit down dining doesn’t have to be a carb-zilla experience.  I filled up on a sweet ham & cheese omelette,  putting the toast on D’s plate, and shoving aside those hash browns.  For a side…a salad.

Friday – I found some freezer sausage patties that were flavored with maple (sweet & savory meat – one of my favorite combos) with only 3 net carbs per serving.  Paired those with the (read this in a low-pitched, loud & echo-y voice) ULTIMATE salad bar.

As I had extra bodies eating dinner, what I did was get a huge bag of a pre-chopped lettuce salad blend.  Chopped some leftover chicken, ham, peppers, bacon, onions, olives, pea pods, assorted shredded cheeses, and left all the toppings on the counter in individual little bowls.  Served true salad bar style – everyone got a bowl, and assembled their own salads just the way they wanted.

Paired those huge salads with baked potatoes (for everyone else, not for me…) so they could load them with the salad toppings as they saw fit.  And – extra sour cream in the fridge to play with throughout the week.

Saturday – Wheeeeee!!!!  I got drunk for science – but not drunk enough to visit Ralph.

Sunday – Hmmm.  That single glass of booze last night has me hungry today – almost like I’ve been punted out of Ketosis.  Keeping the faith, though – with a scramble comprised of various stuff left over from the salad bar, and some bratwurst patties for dinner.

Monday -Strange that I’ve been fighting hunger for the last 2 days – it can’t be JUST because of the drink.   So – I did a search on the one little thing that I changed up.  The Mio water enhancers.  Turns out, Sucralose (the sweetener in these little drops) can cause some people to experience hunger, because the sweet flavor tricks your stomach into believing there is a sugar-laden carb bomb on the way down, so it prepares for it.

I have to believe that pairing these drops with heavy cream, though, does not induce the hungry, because the body has something to digest.

Soooo – back to the unsweetened iced tea for me – I’ll keep the water flavorants for my morning drink (2T heavy cream, 1 squirt orange Mio in a travel mug filled with ice & water).

Tuesday – Tonight is Marcus Theater’s special $5 admission night – any movie you want to see, all seats are a measly $5.  The SQO wanted to go see The Awakening 2, so dinner was a scramble.  I ended up with a pair of hot dogs along with a plateful of pan fried green beans (plenty of garlic & onion in dem beans…).   With dinner being so light, I was a bit peckish at the movie, but I nimbly avoided the popcorn once again, and celebrated the carb-avoidance with some extra egg salad when I got home.

And the movie?  Crazy bizarre & scary.  It’s based on a real-life couple who did a lot of paranormal research in the 70’s, and their encounter in a haunted house in England.   It made me give out involuntary exclamations (but no screams) in 3 separate occasions, which may be a record.  Usually…I giggle at the bits the rest of the audience is jumping out of their skin over.

If you’ve got a taste for scary ghost movies…go see it.